Ariston-Nord-West-Ring (ANWR) looks back at a successful first half of this year, as the company reported a strong 15 percent increase in centralized settlements to €405 million for its affiliated shoe retailers in Germany. For the second half, ANWR expects a stable development of its business.

The cooperative had a total of 1,013 affiliated shoe retailers at the end of the first half, and they managed 3,119 stores, up slightly from 3,103 stores at the end of 2010. The retailers' own sales grew moderately at an estimated rate of 1 percent for the first half 2011. For the whole 2011 business year, ANWR expects that its affiliated retailers will record a decrease in their sales, as it will be difficult to top last year's jump of 8.6 percent increase.

There has been a clear tendency among the affiliated retailers to favor suppliers, with which ANWR has signed contracts that give them special conditions. Due to the sharply improved order volume, ANWR 's bonuses to retailers went up by 20 percent to €15.3 million in the first half. Considering that the retailers would be placing higher orders, ANWR's DZB Bank has increased to €50 million the credit lines that it places at the retailers' disposal to finance their purchases. In many cases, such loans allow them to get special discounts.

The house trade fairs - ANWR First, ANWR Second and ANWR Fashion Days - are becoming more and more popular among retailers and suppliers. Therefore, ANWR will extend the duration of the ANWR Second to three days in 2012 and expand the surface of the exhibition by one additional hall, encompassing 2,000 square meters. The ANWR Fashion Days will be organized earlier than in the previous years. In 2012, the Fashion Days will take place on March 20-21, shortly after the GDS fair in Düsseldorf. In addition to the three fairs in Mainhausen, ANWR organizes six regional shoes at different locations in Germany twice per season.

Rieker, Gabor, Tamaris, Ecco and Paul Green, in that order, were the most-requested brands among the members of Anwr Schuh in the first half of 2011. Gabor improved its ranking to the second spot, Esprit went up from the 15th spot to the seventh spot and Camel Active, which also belongs to Gabor Footwear, rose from the 11th to the 10th spot on ANWR's list of the major suppliers. Ara Shoes remained stable at No. 6. S. Oliver and Caprice, which belong to the Wortmann group along with Tamaris, also ranked high.

ANWR will be offering its affiliated retailers a new e-commerce service. At the moment, 10 retailers are taking part in the test stage of the project. The e-commerce service includes registration at Google Places, the Yellow Pages and additional regional websites, so that consumers can find the stores when searching online. By logging on to a web portal, retailers will have access to the service, which can also be used for regional marketing. The same service will be offered by Garant and Quick Schuh., which also belong to ANWR. It will be up to each cooperative to provide the e-commerce service free of charge or to charge for it.

Since May, ANWR has offered the franchise concept of Quick Schuh to affiliated retailers from Garant and Rexor in Germany and Austria. During GDS, the first affiliated retailer from Garant in Germany opened a franchised Quick Schuh store. Twenty-two new Quick Schuh stores have been opened so far in 2011. Altogether 140 Quick Schuh stores exist in Germany and Austria. The trend is for an increasing number of stores to be managed by a smaller number of companies.

Quick Schuh recorded a successful first half of 2011, with an increase in orders volume for next year's spring/summer season of 10 percent to 855,000 pairs of shoes. Quick Schuh's operating profit grew in the first half of this year by 6 percent to €305,000 and revenues reached €5.02 million.